Most likely, almost everyone you know is on social media. New trends suggest that over half of the world’s population will be using social media by the middle of this year. Today, social channels are used for far more than just updating friends and family on what you had for dinner last night. People are utilizing social media to find and research brands, compare reviews and make purchasing decisions.
People are also using social channels to find health care information and choose who they want to patronize for care and services. This includes older generations, not just tech-savvy millennials: a 2017 study found that 90% of older people used social sites like Facebook and Twitter to find and share health care information.
In today’s digital era, organic social media marketing is a necessary component of any health care company’s digital marketing plans. Unfortunately, too many companies fall into the trap of making posts for the sole purpose of making posts. But for health care companies, social posts need to be relevant, timely, useful and educational.
Below, we’ve outlined the top 10 benefits of using social media in health care marketing, along with tips for getting started with your own social strategy.
10 Benefits of Health Care Social Media Marketing
- Increase brand reach. Worldwide, approximately 3.8 billion people use social media platforms. Social media marketing is an effective way to find and connect with people who match your target audience demographics, interests and behaviors. One way to get in front of the right people is to study trending hashtags and leverage relevant hashtags about topics your brand is connected to. Hashtags can help keep your brand engaged in the conversations that your audience finds important.
- Raise awareness. Social media is a great place to share exciting new research, treatment developments and case studies from your field. You can also use social platforms to raise awareness of upcoming annual or seasonal health concerns.
- Educate and advise. Use your platforms to share health and wellness tips with your customers and answer their common questions on health topics surrounding your area of expertise. Provide further education by directing customers to other credible sources of information. And build your own credibility by directing customers back to your website or blog to read more in-depth articles and resources.
- Develop authority. Become a thought leader in the field by creating and sharing relevant, useful content, answering customer questions and common health concerns, disproving misinformation, and following and sharing pages and posts from other thought leaders in the field. Position your brand as a valuable resource to customers who are searching for information about the products and services your company offers. Authority fosters credibility and trustworthiness — 2 factors that customers take into consideration when making purchasing decisions.
- Debunk misinformation. Unfortunately, misinformation about health care topics abounds on the internet, where social media platforms facilitate the swift spread of untrue facts and misconceptions to large groups of people. Once released to the web, it’s difficult to reign in misinformation. As a public-serving health care organization, it’s your duty to use your credibility in the field to combat the spread of misinformation. Build your authority and trustworthiness by being a resource customers can turn to for help navigating the truthfulness of health care claims.
- Communicate during a crisis. During times of crisis or breaking news, social media can help your company publicize crucial information rapidly to large audiences. Today, more people get their news from social media than from newspapers. A timely social media post will inform your followers and customers of the latest news, along with the steps your company is taking to protect and care for customers during a crisis situation.
- Provide customer service. More customers than ever are using social media to ask questions, express complaints and give feedback, either by commenting on a post or sending a direct message to a company’s page. Your representatives should always, always, always answer comments and reviews customers leave on your social media — even if (or perhaps especially if) they are negative. Positive comments and questions allow your reps to showcase excellent customer service by responding in a friendly, warm manner to thank customers for their feedback and to timely address lingering concerns. Negative reviews allow your reps to showcase excellent customer service by taking swift action to acknowledge a complaint, apologize if necessary and take the appropriate steps to resolve customer problems timely.
- Promote a positive reputation. Customers who follow you on social media are active on their own social media channels. Encourage satisfied customers to leave a review on your Facebook page, share your Twitter handle with friends and family, comment and share on your social posts and make their own posts about how happy they are with the services your company provided. Positivity pays off in the long run: brand promoters have a lifetime value 6 to 14 times that of detractors.
- Connect and engage with customers. Use social media as a channel for outreach to gain valuable insights and feedback from customers. Experiment with different types of content and messaging and analyze engagement levels to determine what’s driving the most interaction. Post questions or surveys about products, services and customer care to generate real-time responses about what customers want and areas where they think you could improve. Don’t be afraid to receive some negative feedback — customers will trust and respect your brand more if you demonstrate a willingness to acknowledge feedback and act to improve.
- Humanize the organization. For many people, dealing with health care companies can feel daunting or scary. Social media is a place where you can work to humanize your organization and project a positive, warm and open brand persona. Highlight staff members, medical providers and achievements within the company on your social media pages. Your medical professionals will have the chance to connect with potential customers who are searching for a provider; meaningful interactions online will keep your brand top of mind when customers are ready to make a purchasing decision.
Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Health Care Marketers
Do have social media policies in place for employees and medical professionals. Make sure all employees and medical providers know what’s appropriate and what’s not for posting on social media. Have a system in place for determining who is responsible for making posts and answering comments on the company page. Remind your employees that their personal pages can have an impact on their job — at all times, they should conduct themselves online as representatives of the company.
Do utilize multiple social channels for different content. Create several pieces of content to use across different social platforms. Your content selection should depend on the average age of users on the channel and the types of content that perform well. An educational text-heavy post on Facebook won’t be effective on Instagram, where visuals dominate engagement levels. Take advantage of video-based tools like Facebook Live and Live Tweet to generate more engagement from followers — 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands they support.
Do post consistently. Post regularly to establish your presence online, gain more followers and drive more engagement from followers who see your posts.
Don’t violate advertising rules and health care regulations. You must abide by HIPAA regulations to protect your customers’ privacy online. Monitor your company posts and comments to ensure compliance. Additionally, the FDA has rules governing how you can advertise health care products and services online. Make sure you have a compliance officer or legal representative on your team to review everything before it’s published on social media. Breaking rules and regulations can result in fines, legal issues or your pages being shut down.
Don’t ignore negative comments on social posts. Online reviews and comments are critical for maintaining a good online reputation. In fact, online reviews can impact a person’s choice to do business with a company — one study reported that 94% of customers reviewed have avoided a business due to a bad online review. If you ignore negative comments on your social media, you run the risk of escalating a bad situation and damaging your reputation.
Don’t focus exclusively on making a sales push. Don’t make aggressive sales pitches on your organic social media pages. Leverage your platforms to connect and interact with customers, build positive relationships and position your brand as a trustworthy, credible thought leader. Use social media ads to make sales pitches; use your company pages to build meaningful, organic relationships with your customers. They are the brand loyalists who are most likely to remember your name and convert when they need your products and services.
NewGen Marketing Can Help You With All Your Marketing Needs
NewGen Marketing offers broad-spectrum marketing and sales services to several leading brands in the health care industry. Our team uses performance-driven marketing strategies to streamline customer acquisition, optimize marketing campaigns and drive a positive return on investment for companies. We can help your business save money while increasing leads and conversions by allocating spend and resources effectively into the marketing channels that generate results.
Our executive team has decades worth of experience leading performance-driven sales and marketing initiatives for health care companies. Contact us today so we can schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.